Before the Schalmont baseball team faces a big test against Ogdensburg Free Academy in today’s state Class B quarterfinal game, some players have to take The Big Test.
And that posed a big problem, one all-too-familiar to those who schedule postseason sporting events that often run up against springtime conflicts.
The game was slated for 1 p.m. at Ballston Spa High School. The test used for college admissions is being administered at Guilderland High School — about 33 miles to the south.
“They start at 8 a.m.,” Sabres’ head coach Chris Teta said. “This test does not get out until some time after 12:30 or so. By 1:30 or 2 they should be there.”
The Sabres have five underclassmen — including three starters — slated to take the exam. The school appealed to host Section II to reschedule the game.
“We’ll have to get a little funky with the lineup until the kids get there, then we’ll swap them out,” Teta said Friday afternoon.
Section II got hammered with phone calls from parents to change the start time.
“Everyone has been on it all day,” Teta said before his team’s practice. “Some of our parents called Section II and the state.” (The New York State Public High School Athletic Association said it was a Section II decision.)
Executive Director Wayne Bertrand was not amused by the situation.
“Here is the problem: These games have been set forever,” he said, noting the dates were set by the section’s baseball committee in January, and the times by the seeding committee May 16.
“Two days before they go, ‘I got a kid taking the SAT,’ ” he continued. “What is convenient for Schalmont may not be convenient for everyone else.”
He was not being snarky: Moving a scheduled postseason game can involve numerous parties besides the teams, from officials and vendors to redoing rental agreements.
But the start time would certainly have impacted the game. Schalmont’s postseason roster has eight juniors, including Matt Rash, who hit a go-ahead two-run double in Thursday’s 5-2 sub-regional win against Plattsburgh, and Brian Mahar, who pitched a complete-game shutout when the Sabres beat Hoosic Valley 4-0 in the Section II Class B-BB playoff.
Among the other juniors on the Schalmont team are key contributors Jake Defayette, Tim Ryan, Brandon LaRue and Alex Capovani. School officials declined to name which five are taking the test.
“It’s an important test for them,” Schalmont athletic director John Gallo said. “The schedule has been made in advance. You’re required to stay a certain amount of time, and they don’t let you out until a certain time.”
The schedule has been made in advance is the same thing Betrand said. The thing is, when it comes to spring sports — especially the postseason — there is often something going on that conflicts with a game. The Section II executive director said schools should be proactive in noting potential conflicts months — not days — in advance.
“‘It’s the day of our prom. It’s the day after our prom. It’s our senior trip . . .,’ ” he said. “You can’t win.”
By mid-afternoon, Bertrand said, “Call back in 20 minutes.” Not much later, Schalmont’s athletic director called The Daily Gazette.
“I just got the word: We’re moved to 2 p.m,” Gallo said. “We’re appreciative of them moving it. I thanked Wayne Bertrand up and down and we’ll be ready to play ball.”
The game was moved only because logistics and the parties allowed for it. That is not the case with every conflict.
On Saturday night, Shenendehowa will play Cicero-North Syracuse at Joe Bruno Stadium in the Class AA regional final. It’s a big night.
It’s prom night in Clifton Park.
No, they are not rescheduling the game.
“But the kids said, ‘Coach, that’s not going to be a problem,’ ” Shenendehowa coach Greg Christodulu said. “So, whatever that means.”
Shenendehowa senior Michael Gillooley expanded upon what that means for the Plainsmen like himself who would be attending the prom if not for the game:
“We might as well win this game.”
Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly contributed to this report.